Transforaminal Interbody Lumbar Fusion (TILF)


Transforaminal Interbody Lumbar fusion is a surgery that is used to cure spinal weakness or instability by uniting lumbar or lower spine bones permanently. 

TLIF surgery aims to remove or decompress the pressure from the spinal cord nerves,  spine stabilization, and preventing further degradation at the joint.

Over a  specific period, this fusion grows into one solid single bone. A Transforaminal Interbody Lumbar fusion (TLIF) surgery can be carried in one of the several invasive ways to reach the target area,

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Transforaminal Interbody Lumbar Fusion (TILF)


TILF is generally used to treat back or leg pain caused by degenerative disc disease. The surgeon will stabilize the spine by fusing vertebrae together with bone graft material.

Transforaminal Interbody Lumbar Fusion (TILF):Symptoms


  • Degenerative disc disease with a specific discogenic pain pattern.
  • Low grade 1 or grade 2 spondylolisthesis.
  • Instability of the anterior column in association with posterior pathology.
  • Previous decompression for a herniated disc.
  • Decompression in association with micro-instability, spondylolisthesis

Transforaminal Interbody Lumbar Fusion (TILF):Pre-Procedure


 A full physical examination will be conducted by the doctor to see if the patient is in good health to undertake the surgery.

  • The patient’s medical history is thoroughly studied so as to avoid any complications arising during or after the surgery. 
  • Medications such as blood thinners are advised to be stopped, a week before the surgery is due to take place.
  • The patient is to fast for a minimum of 8 hours before the surgery. 

Transforaminal Interbody Lumbar Fusion (TILF):Procedure


  • TILF procedure is performed through a posterior incision exposing the back of the spine.
  • Pedicle screws are placed into the vertebra.
  • Exposure of the disc space is done on one side by removing the facet joints and protecting the nerve roots.
  • The disc space is entered and disc material is removed.
  • The bone graft is obtained from the patient’s iliac crest (the hip).
  • A spacer or interbody cage that is filled with bone graft is placed into the disc space to maintain the disc height.
  • Additional bone is placed in the lateral (side) gutters of the vertebrae and the disc space.
  • Pedicle screws are attached to rods or plates.
  • The wound is closed.

Transforaminal Interbody Lumbar Fusion (TILF):Post Surgical Care


  • Physical therapy is begun the day
  • A spinal brace may be used.
  • Limited activity

Transforaminal Interbody Lumbar Fusion (TILF):Risks


  • Infection
  • Blood loss
  • Nerve injury
  • Possible re-operation
  • Lack of a solid fusion
  • Continued pain or (rarely) increased pain

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